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Ambush Ants: Beware the moldy patch on that branch

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12:07pm, April 20, 2005

On the plants where they live, tiny tropical ants build fungus platforms and then hide underneath, ready to ambush insects that may be far larger than themselves.

The ants use the plant's natural hairs as pillars supporting a hole-riddled roof of fungus and other tidbits, says Jérôme Orivel of Toulouse University in France. Lurking beneath this structure, the ants reach through the holes to capture prey ranging from mosquitoes to grasshoppers, he and his colleagues report in the April 21 Nature.

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